Is this old Stanley worth fixing?

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Forum topic by BTimmons posted 942 days ago 919 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2101 posts in 1109 days

942 days ago

My dad let me take this plane off his hands since he’s barely used it. 30 years or so mostly spent gathering dust. I guess it’s a #5? I’m pretty new at this, and I don’t even have a bench to use it on yet, anyway.

What I’ve read about planes so far has impressed upon me the importance of keeping the sole flat. It was pretty rusted and dirty on the bottom when I first got it. So after a quick blast of WD-40 to remove the surface rust, I took it to a sheet of 100 grit paper stretched over a scrap piece of polished granite counter top. After maybe 30 minutes of elbow grease. This is as flat as I can make it at this grit, it seems.

Look right at the mouth and you can see a pretty serious dish worn into the sole. It’s even more obvious looking at it face on. Apparently this is the area of the plane where flatness is most important, and it’s the one spot that’s really screwed up!

I don’t see a way to way to get this flat without some serious machinery that I lack. What do you guys and gals think? How would I go about flattening this, and is it even worth the effort or cost to do so?

-- Brian Timmons -

9 replies so far

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 2427 days

#1 posted 942 days ago

Late post-war manufacture, so it may never have really been flat, and the frog design is poor. Rule of thumb with Stanley planes is that if they are not black, they are not worth tuning up. For $10-$20 on ebay you can find one 20-30 years older with a lot more potential.

View ShaneA's profile


5285 posts in 1222 days

#2 posted 942 days ago

Looks like a #4, I would try sharpening the iron, and see if you can make some shavings with it. At the least it is good practice. But I wouldnt put several hrs I it, trying to “fix it” unless it has sentimental value to you. Good luck.

View Don W's profile

Don W

14821 posts in 1192 days

#3 posted 942 days ago

I agre with Shane, it looks like a #4. You can verify by comparing sized here.

I wouldn’t call the dish that serious. You can find several blogs here on restoring planes, I’ve got one that shows some worse looking specimens that came out great.

I agree I would sharpen it and give it a try. I dis-agree that its not worth fixing up, especially if it has sentimental value. You can make that plane work as well as any if your willing to put in the time.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View BTimmons's profile


2101 posts in 1109 days

#4 posted 942 days ago

Thanks to everyone for the input.

There isn’t really any sentential value attached here. I like my dad and all, but it’s not a big deal. I saw it lying around, asked if I could use it, he said ok.

As much work as it took to get it even this far, who knows how much time, sweat, and sandpaper it’ll take before it’s flat. I have sharpened the iron already, and I guess it kind of works. Not that well, though. I think I’d better look elsewhere for a jack plane.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Don W's profile

Don W

14821 posts in 1192 days

#5 posted 942 days ago

If your looking for a jack plane, the one you have will work well. The sole only needs to be extremely flat to be a smoother. Sharpen a small camber on that blade, open the mouth as far as the frog will let you, and if it still doesn’t work for a jack, its not sharp enough.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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2101 posts in 1109 days

#6 posted 942 days ago

Don – That’s good to know. Thanks!

-- Brian Timmons -

View rum's profile


148 posts in 1210 days

#7 posted 942 days ago

It should also make a pretty useable scrub plane as is (well add some camber to the blade and open the mouth a smidge if you really need to). With the sole being that far off in front of the mouth it probably won’t cut super clean, but as a scrub it doesn’t need to.

Also make sure you’re flattening it with the blade in and under tension.. that will warp the sole a little. Its really only (well mostly) important for the sole to be flat in front of the blade, if its recessed a bit behind it, it doesn’t matter as much (and removing to much metal is a waste making the plane weaker).

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


9758 posts in 1242 days

#8 posted 942 days ago

That’s not too bad. Like Don says, I’d give it a run, nothing to loose, everthing to gain (because hand planes, especially a well -tuned smoother, is a real gateway drug to hand tool use). Move up some grits, get it to shape, then the finer grits for polishing. You’ll get there, and know alot having gone through the process. Good luck!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Sylvain's profile


541 posts in 1123 days

#9 posted 941 days ago

Read the Paul Sellers blog, the posts containing #planes

in the title.

It might explain the dish around the mouth.

look also at another recent post here on LJ

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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